2nd Edition

The RTI Approach to Evaluating Learning Disabilities, Second Edition

    From leading authorities, this indispensable work is now in a revised and expanded second edition, presenting state-of-the-art tools and procedures for practitioners. The book shows how to use response to intervention (RTI) to evaluate K-12 students for specific learning disabilities (SLD). The second edition gives increased attention to optimizing the instructional environment in the context of a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS). Procedures are described for screening at-risk students; using RTI to intensify instruction in reading, writing, and math; identifying SLD; determining eligibility for special education; and planning individualized education programs. Case examples and pointers for practice are woven throughout. In a convenient large-size format, the book includes reproducible tools that can be downloaded and printed for repeated use.

    New to This Edition
    *Incorporates contemporary perspectives on SLD, upgraded procedures for implementing an MTSS, new approaches to measuring RTI, and enhancements in using classroom observations.
    *Chapter on best practices in academic screening, including important dos and don'ts.
    *Separate chapters on using RTI for reading, written expression, and mathematics.
    *Chapter on RTI and special education law, focusing on what practitioners need to know.

    This book is in The Guilford Practical Intervention in the Schools Series, edited by Sandra M. Chafouleas.

    1. Historical Background for Response to Intervention
    2. The Legal Boundaries for RTI/MTSS
    3. The MTSS: Instructional Prerequisites for Using RTI for Eligibility Decision Making
    4. Determining Student Risk: Contemporary Best Practices in Academic Screening
    5. Determining Inadequate Academic Achievement
    6. Determining Responsiveness to Intervention
    7. Ruling Out Other Conditions and Inadequate Instruction
    8. Observing the Student within the Instruction–Intervention Process
    9. Synthesizing Data to Determine Eligibility, Write the Evaluation Report, and Build the IEP
    10. Using RTI to Evaluate SLD in Reading
    11. Using RTI to Evaluate SLD in Written Expression
    12. Using RTI to Evaluate SLD in Mathematics


    Joseph F. Kovaleski, DEd, NCSP, is Professor Emeritus of Educational and School Psychology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he directed the Doctoral Program in School Psychology. Dr. Kovaleski has worked as a school psychologist and district administrator in school districts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He directed Pennsylvania’s Instructional Support Team Project and has served as a university consultant for Pennsylvania’s Response to Intervention and Multi-Tiered System of Support initiatives. Dr. Kovaleski’s special areas of expertise include using student data to inform instructional planning and behavior change programs. He has published a number of articles and book chapters on RTI and data-based decision making and presents frequently at national and state conferences. Dr. Kovaleski is a recipient of awards from the National Association of School Psychologists, the Pennsylvania Psychological Association, the Association of School Psychologists of Pennsylvania, and The Pennsylvania State University.

    Amanda M. VanDerHeyden, PhD, a policy adviser and active researcher, is President of Education Research and Consulting in Daphne, Alabama, and has a faculty affiliation with the Wheelock College of Education at Boston University. Widely published, she regularly delivers webinar, panel, and keynote sessions, including addresses to state school psychology associations and departments of education in 35 states, Singapore, China, and Portugal. Dr. VanDerHeyden has authored policy guides and position statements, has developed widely used models of academic screening, conducts innovative research in mathematics screening and progress monitoring, and is the creator of SpringMath. She has served as a panel member for the National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Education Sciences at the U.S. Department of Education, and as an adviser and reviewer for the National Center on Intensive Intervention, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the IRIS Center, the Dyslexia Foundation, the RTI Advisory Board for the National Center for Learning Disabilities, and Amplio Learning.

    Timothy J. Runge, PhD, NCSP, BCBA, is Professor in the Department of Psychology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Runge has been a school psychologist in public schools and a consultant for the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network. He continues to provide consultative support to schools implementing multi-tiered systems of support for academics and behavior. Dr. Runge is the lead on the statewide evaluation of Pennsylvania’s School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports initiative. His research interests include behavior support at the individual, classroom, and school levels; literacy assessment and instruction; curriculum-based assessment; and measurement of responsiveness to intervention.

    Perry A. Zirkel, PhD, JD, LLM, is University Professor Emeritus of Education and Law at Lehigh University, where he formerly was Dean of the College of Education and subsequently held the Iacocca Chair in Education. Dr. Zirkel has done presentations in every state in the United States and has written more than 1,600 publications on various aspects of school law, with an emphasis on legal issues in special education. He writes regular columns for the journal Exceptionality and for Communiqué, the newsletter of the National Association for School Psychologists (NASP). Dr. Zirkel is a recipient of awards from the American Educational Research Association, the Council for Exceptional Children, the Education Law Association, NASP, and the University Council for Educational Administration.

    Edward S. Shapiro, PhD, until his death in 2016, was Director of the Center for Promoting Research to Practice and Professor in the School Psychology Program at Lehigh University. Best known for his work in curriculum-based assessment and nonstandardized methods of assessing academic skills problems, Dr. Shapiro was author or coauthor of numerous books. He also developed the widely used BOSS (Behavioral Observation of Students in Schools) software system and presented papers, chaired symposia, and delivered invited addresses at conferences around the world. Dr. Shapiro's contributions to the field of school psychology have been recognized with the Outstanding Contributions to Training Award from Trainers of School Psychologists, the Distinguished Contribution to School Psychology Award from the Pennsylvania Psychological Association, the Eleanor and Joseph Lipsch Research Award from Lehigh University, and the Senior Scientist Award from the Division of School Psychology of the American Psychological Association, among other honors.

    "This book accurately captures our evolving understanding of RTI within MTSS and clearly illustrates how to leverage the essential components of MTSS to identify significant learning disabilities. The second edition's additional focus on prevention--through the accurate use of screening data, appropriate instructional intensity, and effective Tier 1 core programming--will support school teams in effectively integrating special education requirements and promoting ambitious growth for students with disabilities. Professional learning providers and faculty will find the numerous case examples featuring commonly available assessments to be useful for modeling RTI decision making and facilitating robust discussions. Practitioners will find the decision-making flowcharts and implementation checklists invaluable for guiding efficient and effective implementation of RTI."--Tessie Bailey, PhD, Director, Center on Multi-Tiered System of Supports and PROGRESS Center, American Institutes for Research

    "It is rare to see a book that is so grounded in research yet so practical, but Kovaleski et al. provide just such a resource. The second edition remains the most comprehensive book available on how to identify SLD in schools, and includes recent information about legal decisions, best practices for screening, and how to meet the classroom observation requirement so that it actually informs decisions. This book is a 'must read' for practitioners who are just beginning to use RTI for SLD identification, or for anyone working to have a more effective, legally defensible practice that improves children's lives. It is also a great text for school psychology training courses."--Matthew K. Burns, PhD, Rose and Irving Fein Endowed Professor of Special Education, University of Florida; Assistant Director, University of Florida Literacy Institute

    “We referred to the first edition as our 'recipe book' for implementation of RTI-based SLD evaluation practices in North Carolina. The ingredients added to the second edition are spot-on and provide many needed details, including the critical role of the MTSS infrastructure, considerations for effective screening practices, and establishing the data requirements to rule out inadequate instruction as a cause for academic difficulties. I look forward to using the second edition in our statewide effort to scale evaluation and identification practices that begin with a focus on effective instruction for all.”--Lynn Kalinoski Makor, MA, CAGS, Consultant for Psychological Services, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction-